what is the retirement age in canada

The Retirement Age in Ontario

In the evolving landscape of Ontario’s workforce, the concept of retirement is undergoing a significant transformation. The province’s employment landscape now includes a substantial population of individuals aged 55 and over who have chosen to continue working well into their golden years. For many of these older employees, their jobs hold profound significance, contributing to their well-being, sense of dignity, and self-worth.

Yet, despite the willingness and ability of older workers to contribute actively to the workforce, some employers may exert undue pressure on them to retire. Whether by specifying a retirement age in an employee’s contract or implementing workplace policies that encourage retirement, these actions raise pressing legal questions.

Is it legally permissible for an employer to compel an employee to retire? What avenues of legal redress are available in such situations? If you find yourself confronting this issue, what should your course of action be? In this article, we will delve into these inquiries and elucidate how an employment and Human Rights lawyer can be your ally in navigating the intricacies of retirement age in Ontario. So, let’s embark on this journey to understand the evolving landscape of retirement age and the legal safeguards at your disposal.

Being Pressured or Forced to Retire?

Retirement should be a voluntary decision, not a condition imposed by your employer. If you feel pressured or forced to retire, it’s crucial to understand that you have rights. Such practices may constitute age discrimination and are not in line with employment standards. Achkar Law can provide the expert advice and support you need to address this issue. Don’t face this challenge alone; let us help you explore your options and ensure your rights are protected.

What Is the Retirement Age in Ontario?

There is typically no set retirement age in Ontario, allowing employees to continue working for as long as they choose, with certain exceptions.

The Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) safeguards employees against age-based discrimination and ensures equal treatment in employment. Age discrimination occurs when an employer or workplace policy unfairly treats an employee due to their age, denying them workplace opportunities.

Mandatory retirement based solely on age constitutes age discrimination, violating the Code. Any contract term or policy enforcing such retirement is often legally unenforceable, except when age is a genuine occupational requirement for the job.

To establish age as a bona fide occupational requirement, employers must prove that:

  • The retirement age is logically linked to job performance,
  • It was adopted in good faith for legitimate work-related reasons,
  • The requirement is necessary to fulfill those work-related purposes, making accommodation impractical without imposing undue hardship on the employer.

While these principles may appear clear, consulting an employment and Human Rights lawyer is advisable if you suspect any form of discrimination.

Legal Options When Facing Forced Retirement

Depending on the circumstances, there could be both civil and Human Rights remedies available to you when an employer attempts to force your retirement.

In a civil lawsuit, you can potentially pursue legal action to claim your severance entitlements and seek compensation for any damages incurred if your employer unlawfully terminates your employment due to a mandatory retirement age or fosters a hostile work environment to pressure your retirement.

On the other hand, Human Rights remedies can be pursued, including general damages for harm to your dignity, emotional distress, and self-esteem, along with lost wages from the time of the employer’s discriminatory actions to the date of your hearing before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Additionally, non-monetary remedies can be sought through the Tribunal to address the discrimination experienced.

The choice of legal process and remedies to seek hinges on the specific circumstances of your case. To determine the best course of action for asserting your legal rights, it is highly recommended to consult with an employment dispute lawyer.

Navigating Forced Retirement: Steps To Take

If you suspect your employer is discriminating against you by attempting to force your retirement, it’s crucial to take specific steps to protect your rights and build a solid case. One of the first things you should do is gather and maintain copies of all relevant documents that could support your claim. These documents may include your employment contract, workplace policies, written communications (such as emails and texts), personal notes, and any previous complaints you’ve submitted to your employer.

Initiating an informal, written complaint with your employer about the workplace dispute is often a good initial step in resolving the issue. It gives your employer the chance to address your concerns and offers them a reasonable opportunity to do so. Failing to make such informal complaints before pursuing legal remedies could potentially weaken your case.

If your employer fails to provide a satisfactory resolution to your complaint, your next decision involves choosing the appropriate legal process to pursue your entitlements. In many instances of age discrimination, filing an Application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario is the suitable route to take against your employer. However, in some cases, it may be more effective to seek your legal entitlements through Ontario’s courts by filing a statement of claim.

It’s important to note that only an employment and Human Rights lawyer can provide you with legal advice on whether a civil lawsuit or a Human Rights claim is more appropriate for your specific situation. Consulting with an employment and Human Rights lawyer early in your workplace dispute can also help you take proactive measures to increase your chances of achieving the desired outcomes.

In Summary

In Ontario, there is no mandatory retirement age. Being compelled to retire due to your age constitutes age discrimination, with only a few exceptions. An employer may avoid violating the Ontario Human Rights Code if they can demonstrate that the age requirement for retirement is a bona fide occupational requirement.

If you find yourself forced to leave your workplace due to your age, you have the potential to pursue various legal remedies, both monetary and non-monetary. To build a strong case, it’s essential to gather and preserve documents relevant to proving your claim, consider filing an informal complaint with your employer, and explore initiating a legal proceeding to assert your entitlements.

However, there’s no substitute for consulting with an employment and Human Rights lawyer who can help you determine and pursue your legal rights. They can provide invaluable legal advice to strengthen your case, represent your interests throughout complex legal proceedings, and even negotiate with your employer to help you achieve the outcome you desire.

Facing Forced Retirement? Ageism Has No Place in the Workplace.

The transition to retirement should be a personal choice, not a demand or expectation set by your employer. Being forced to retire not only affects your financial stability but also discriminates based on age—a clear act of ageism. If you find yourself being pressured into retirement before you’re ready, it’s crucial to recognize that you have rights, and there are legal protections in place to support you.

At Achkar Law, we understand the challenges that come with facing age discrimination in the workplace, including being forced into retirement. Our experienced legal team is dedicated to advocating for the rights of employees, ensuring you’re treated fairly regardless of age. By arranging a consultation with us, you’ll gain a partner ready to fight against ageism and work tirelessly to protect your interests.

Don’t accept forced retirement without exploring your legal options. Arrange a consultation with Achkar Law today and take a stand against age discrimination. Let us help you navigate your rights and ensure your voice is heard.

Contact us today at 1 (800) 771-7882 or email [email protected].

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